It’s creepy, but here we are, the Pilgrims, the crackpots of our time, trying to establish our own alternate reality. To build a world out of rocks and chaos.
What it’s going to be, I don’t know.
Even after all that rushing around, where we’ve ended up is the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.
And maybe knowing isn’t the point.
Where we’re standing right now, in the ruins in the dark, what we build could be anything.
I create other worlds, magical never-never lands where the camera is my weapon and the battles I fight are with the elements. I stretch the laws of the mind and displace people from their realities to capture a side of them they didn’t even know they had. Photography has the ability to freeze people in this time and space—no matter what happens after that moment, it cannot change—they are exactly how I want them to be.
Writing a story or a novel is one way of discovering sequence in experience, of stumbling upon cause and effect in the happenings of a writer’s own life. This has been the case with me. Connections slowly emerge. Like distant landmarks you are approaching, cause and effect begin to align themselves, draw closer together. Experiences too indefinite of outline in themselves to be recognized for themselves connect and are identified as a larger shape. And suddenly a light is thrown back, as when your train makes a curve, showing that there has been a mountain of meaning rising behind you on the way you’ve come, is rising there still, proven now through retrospect. Writing fiction has developed in me an abiding respect for the unknown in a human lifetime and a sense of where to look for the threads, how to follow, how to connect, find in the thick of the tangle what clear line persists. The strands are all there: to the memory nothing is ever lost.
―Eudora Welty, On Writing
Most attribute the domain of night to evil because they can’t see. People fear the shadows of the night because shadows represent the unknown, and the unknown is frightening. They assume evil lurks behind every shadow, in every corner not illuminated. But their fear of the unknown is often what really terrifies them. They find comfort seeing in the daylight for that reason, but the irony is they are often more blinded by their comfort than by the shadow of night. It’s a pity. If they could overcome their fear of the unknown they might realize that the unknown is not evil, it is simply an opportunity waiting to be explored. The night is no more a domain of evil than the daylight, both were created good, both have evil lurking in them. When you can overcome your fear, the night becomes a domain of beauty interlaced with danger, and that is exciting!
As I go off into the big black abyss of my future, I have to admit that I am terrified and also a bit insecure in my decisions. But, I also realize that anyone who has ever gone off into uncharted waters must have felt similar to the way I feel now, which gives me a small ounce of comfort. I don’t know how to do what I am doing, I have no way of knowing if this is the right way or not. But I guess I’ll never know until I get there. So, this is me, being a pioneer.
I’m always a mystery to myself. If I knew in the first hours of the morning, what I’m going to do, what is going to happen, what attitude or decision should I take? I think my life would be deadly boring because, well, what makes life interesting is the unknown. It is the risks that we take every single moment of our day — of a single day. So, I think that this contradiction should be accepted. Having said that, I mean that learning how to live with our contradictions does not keep us away from the ethic and respecting our neighbor, and learning about tolerance, and learning about compassion.
―Paulo Coelho, “The Alchemy of Pilgrimage”, On Being interview with Krista Tippett